February 1, 2017

Remembering Linda Ann Healy

 Forty-three years ago yesterday, Linda Ann Healy enjoyed her last day of life before Ted Bundy would take it from her.

On January 31, 1974, Linda, a willowy 21 year old brunette, was a student at the University of Washington.  She was studying psychology and hoped to make a career out of helping children. She shared a rooming house in the popular "U District," located at 5517 Northeast 12th Street, with four other girls.  She and one roommate shared the basement area, turning it into two makeshift "bedrooms" with use of a piece of plywood.  Two other girls occupied two bedrooms on the upstairs, second, floor and one girl used the bedroom on the main floor of the home.  Their set up and accommodations were no different than thousands of others in the area.

On that Thursday, it was Linda's turn for kitchen duty and she rode her bike to the local Safeway, picking up items for dinner.  Later on, it would be discovered that Ted Bundy was in the Safeway as well, cashing a check.

Linda in her high school graduation photo
Linda likely had a lot on her mind.  Not just dinner for that evening but her parents were coming over for dinner on Friday, the following evening, and she and her roommates were planning a party for Saturday.  Furthermore, Linda had a morning job announcing the ski reports for a local station before she headed to the university for classes.

That evening, after all five women had sat down and enjoyed dinner together, several of them would head over to Dante's, a local tavern that was a favorite of the college crowd.  The girls could walk, where they met up with friends.  They enjoyed a pitcher or two of beer before deciding to call it a night shortly before 9:45.  One of the group's friends had to catch a 9:45 bus and would later be precise about the time.  It is unlikely that Linda or anyone in her group would have noticed Ted Bundy in the tavern, watching Linda intently.

As she had done on many previous evenings, Linda watched a bit of tv with her roommates before saying goodnight and heading downstairs.  She changed into her nightgown, set her alarm clock for 5:30, turned out the light and went to sleep. Her roommate would come downstairs later, around 1:30, and see and hear nothing out of the ordinary.  She would sleep soundly until 5:30, when Linda's alarm clock began buzzing insistently.  When her own alarm went off around 6, she shut it and Linda's off, noticing that Linda's bed was neatly made - - something Linda almost never did, as she had to be at the radio station at 6.  Shrugging it off, the roommate got dressed and left for her classes.

Around 7 a.m., Linda's manager at the radio station called to find out where his reliable employee was.  A roommate with a later class schedule answered the phone and went downstairs to see if Linda had overslept.  She saw that Linda was not there, nor was there anything amiss.  She too left for school.

By 3 p.m. that day the women compared notes.  None of them had seen Linda at school or heard from her.  Their concern grew when they realized that Linda's bike was still at home and Linda's parents were due for dinner in just a few hours.  One of the women called all of Linda's friends, even her ex-boyfriend, hoping to find her.  With no luck, she finally dialed Joyce Healy, Linda's mother, who knew immediately something was very wrong.

The first officers to respond to this missing persons call had little concern.  "Missing" students in a college town were a dime a dozen and the majority of these cases solved themselves when the "missing" person showed up within hours.  This was the 70s, too, when young people frequently went off to "find themselves," and hitchhiking around the state or even the country was not uncommon.  Despite the Healy family's protests that Linda would never just walk away from her life, the officers felt certain she was gone of her own volition and would return shortly.  As they saw nothing suspicious in her basement bedroom upon a cursory look, they left.

Two hours later, a roommate's mother, a friend of the police chief, called and got them back.  This time a homicide detective came with them.  What they found sent shivers down the spines of Linda's loved ones and became the start of what was one of the most inexplicable and unusual disappearances on record.

The detective pulled back the bedspread of Linda's made bed.  He immediately saw the blood, a large splotch of it on the bottom fitted sheet and a stain in the pillow, missing its usual pillowcase.  An inspection of her closet led to the discovery of her nightgown, hung neatly on a peg, with dried blood caking the back of the neckline.  Taking into account that Linda's backpack, a blouse, pair of jeans and boots were missing, the detective at first believed that Linda had suffered a nosebleed and had gone somewhere to have it attended to.

The theory seems rather preposterous today (although maybe that's with the hindsight of knowing what actually happened to Linda).  If Linda had a nosebleed, would she have bled down the back of her nightgown?   Would she have bled so much as to leave a large stain on her bed?  Why would she take her pillowcase?  Wouldn't she wake a roommate or leave a note? And why on earth would someone who rarely, if ever, made her bed on any other day make her bed if she was having a medical emergency?

Yet the initial theory is understandable.  How could someone -- anyone - - sneak into the house without awaking any of its occupants, assault Linda without waking her roommate sleeping behind a slight partition and then smuggle Linda's unconscious or dead body out?  It seemed even more far-fetched than the nosebleed theory.

And yet . . . it would turn out that was exactly what happened.

Linda's friends and family would continue to search for her in the following weeks and months.  The police, no idea that her disappearance was the start of terror for women and girls in multiple states, contacted every person they could find that had any interaction with Linda and came up with nothing.  Linda Ann Healy was an average college student with nothing in her past to suggest that she might be a victim.

It would be a long thirteen months before Linda's fate was known with certainty.  On March 1, 1975 hikers on Taylor Mountain would stumble across a skull.  The location would turn out to be a dumping ground of sorts for the killer of not just Linda Healy but also Susan Rancourt, Kathy Parks and Brenda Ball.  Partial remains of four women were discovered there; Rancourt, Parks and Ball were identified by their skulls and remaining teeth. Linda, the first one to go missing, was identified on the basis of a single tooth, found in a lower mandible.  Her skull was not recovered, nor any other part of her or her belongings.

In 1989, shortly before his execution Ted Bundy confirmed that he had spirited Linda away that windy evening of January 31-February 1, 1974.  While not every detail was confirmed or given, I believe he had been stalking Linda.  His cousin knew one of Linda's roommates.  In fact, Ted visited the home where Linda lived after her disappearance and could possibly have been there before January 31.  He took some of the same psychology classes that Linda did at the U and he moved in her circle, at least peripherally.  He was in the Safeway store at the same time she was on that last afternoon of her life.  He did admit to going to her home that day and, upon finding the front door unlocked and no occupants home, entered and walked about.  I think this may have been either in the afternoon while everyone was out on errands or at school or after dinner, when Linda and friends went to Dante's.  This would have given him a perfect opportunity to locate Linda's room - - if he didn't already know.  Ted, by this point, was a well practiced voyeur.

I think he watched Linda at Dante's.  I think he returned back to the house and watched until he was certain everyone had gone to bed and was asleep.  I think he had probably left himself an entrance during his earlier exploration and he used that to get to the basement.   While he stated at one point that he strangled Linda, I think it's more likely, given the amount and location of blood, as well as what we know with certainty he did to other victims, that he struck her in the head.  I believe he used her pillowcase to wrap around her head to keep the blood from spreading.  He then took off her nightclothes and redressed her, either in an attempt to conceal the abduction for as long as possible or because he preferred her dressed in her normal college attire.  He then, amazingly, picked her up and carried her outside to his waiting car.

Even being early in the morning - - sometime between 1:30 when Linda's roommate went to bed and 5:30 when her alarm went off - - this was a college town.  There was always activity.  Bundy would have had to park his car on the street in front of the house or in the alleyway behind it, blocking any other traffic.  Either location was a huge risk for someone carrying a body.  And yet, he did it.

Along with Georgann Hawkins' June 1974 abduction, also from the University of Washington, Linda's kidnapping and murder is one that shouldn't have happened . . . and yet it did. It put paid to the theory that living in a group ensured your safety.  More importantly, it took a lovely young woman away from her family, friends and life.

Linda is mostly remembered as Ted Bundy's first victim (something I am certain she was not.)  She was much more than that. By all accounts, she was a gregarious, caring and sweet young woman who worked with handicapped children (she had pictures of those children on the wall in her basement bedroom.)  She had pretty blue eyes and a dulcet voice, both for singing and for broadcasting.  She was a loving and loved daughter, sister and friend.

The grave of Linda's father with a memorial to Linda
photo: findagrave.com 


  1. Hi I agree with you totally - Ted entered that apartment. Some experts say there was no evidence that he did, but as Lynda was his target he would have wanted to make sure he had the right room and nothing could go wrong.
    I also agree like Georgeann Hawkins, it shouldn't have happened. But I guess in the case of Lynda Ted was watching her and her friends for weeks if not months. He wanted to find out their weaknesses, vulnerabilities and their routines.
    As for how he succeeded in carrying Lynda outside maybe because it was a thursday helped? Students would have been asleep then. Or maybe Ted disguised himself as a street cleaner or something?
    Also I leave you with one question - what would have happened if Lynda had swapped rooms with one of the girls and took one upstairs and Ted was not aware of it until he walked into the basement room. I wonder would he have continued upstairs?

    1. Hi Eimeara, I believe Ann Rule wrote that there was a pattern in the blood on Linda's bed that resembled the ribbing in corduroy. Ted was apparently known to have a fondness for corduroy.

      In any event, no, there was no physical evidence. That is part of what made Ted so frightening and why he was able to abduct and kill with inpunity for so long.

      I think he got away with taking Linda partly because he was ballsy and partly because he had unfortunate good luck. If anyone had seen him, and no one came forward to report it, who would have thought he was a killer taking a victim? It's been speculated that he could have rolled Linda's body up in a rug or carpet and carried her out that way. Again, no one would have thought he was heading out with a woman's body.

      With regard to your theory . . . Ted was known to improvise when necessary and some of his victims were certainly victims of opportunity, in the wrong place at the wrong time. It's hard to say if he would have prowled through the house, looking for Linda, or simply grabbed the girl who was in her room. I suppose it would depend on his mood, frame of mind, how much he might have been drinking, whether he specifically wanted Linda or would accept any girl, etc.

      Most definitely something to think about.

      Thanks for posting!

  2. Hi I agree that a lot of these poor girls were in the wrong place at the wrong time. For example, Denise Naslund and Janice Ott - it would seem that Ted never set eyes on either before.
    But I will try to answer my own question - what would Ted have done if Lynda was upstairs? From what I understand from Ann Rule - Ted entered Lynda's room from the side door ? And so I cannot see Ted roaming around upstairs looking for Lynda as this would have hindered him - carrying a body downstairs would have been a handicap in itself without the the added burden of carrying her missing backpack. .
    I did read somewhere else that Ted went back for Lynda's backpack?? We will surely never know the answer to that one.

    But sadly I think would still have got Lynda even if he couldn't gain access to her house or room: given her early departures to her 6 am job in the dark. He could easily have lain in wait.
    Also I think some of the housemates may have been intoxicated and not as alert as they would have been which may have facilitated Ted's 'success'

    1. You are right, Eimeara - Ted had no previous relationship with Jan or Denise. He had gone to Lake Sam that day, knowing he would snatch at least one victim but not knowing (or caring) who that person or persons would be.

      I think that Ted mentioned scoping out Linda's house earlier in the evening, when everyone was gone. He had found the front door unlocked, a terrible oversight for Linda, as it would turn out. It allowed Ted to roam the house and pinpoint exactly where Linda slept, if he didn't already know. I also think it allowed him to unlock the side door, where he would return later.

      I'm not sure why Ted took Linda's backpack, unless it was in an attempt to make it look as though she left the house on her own accord.

      The housemates certainly could have been intoxicated. But who would think someone would be so brazen as to slip into a house with five people there, knock one of them out and carry her to his car?

    2. I think maybe Ted wanted a souvenir, so that's why he took her backpack?? Didn't he keep underwear etc as a souvenir, although big difference between backpack and underwear I know.
      Oh for sure Ted sounded out that house. And the side door was unlocked according to Ann Rule. So Ted probably already knew where Lynda slept but he went back again to check the alarm clock - why? For all he knew, Lynda's employer may have wanted her in earlier. His cousin was Lynda's roommate at one point so it is very likely he had been there under benevolent and not so benevolent circumstances.
      I am surprised that those women were not more careful given the attack on the young woman a couple of blocks away. But their reasoning was probably that it wasn't going to happen again and like you say who would think someone could be so brazen to abduct someone in a full house?
      It never happened before as it seems detectives didn't know how to deal with it.
      I leave you with 2 questions we probably will never know the answer to:
      Roger Dunn and Bob Keppel suggest that Ted may have asked Lynda out and been rebuffed. What do you think? Possibly.
      Second:Did Ted know that Lynda's parents were coming the following day for dinner and there were another party on the saturday?
      I think he may well have.

      All I can say is Ted probably checked the neighouring houses out too, their residents and habits. A neighbour leaving the house to start a shift in the middle of the night may have hindered Ted.

      Also it was a windy night, maybe students were inside early?

      All I can say is let's pray that this never happens again. I am in agreement with Kevin Sullivan that we are unlikely to see this ever again.

    3. Hi Eimeara,

      I'll do my best to answer the two questions you posted toward the end.

      First, Ted's cousin knew Linda and her friends. Ted and Linda took some of the same courses at the University. I definitely think they crossed paths. In fact, I recall reading somewhere (possibly Kevin's book?) that Ted had even been to Linda's house in a group setting prior to her abduction. I don't think he necessarily asked her out and was rebuffed. I get the feeling he was admiring/stalking her from afar.

      Did Ted know that her parents were coming for dinner on Friday? No, I don't think so. I think he snatched Linda on that Thursday evening/early Friday morning because he was in a murderous mood and the opportunity presented itself.

      As for why Ted took Linda's backpack - -- - it could have been as a souvenir, it could have been so her roommates thought she had left for work and school as per normal. There could also be a much darker reason. We know that Ted beheaded many of his victims and took those heads home, keeping them for a time. He could have grabbed her backpack, knowing he was going to decapitate her, and needed something to transport her head in.

      I don't know that he would have returned to her room to check on her alarm clock. If he had been stalking Linda, he likely knew what time she rose and/or left the house for work. If he returned to her room after putting Linda in his car, I think it may have been to make her bed (again, in an attempt to disguise her abduction for as long as possible, not necessarily knowing that Linda herself rarely made her bed.)

      Did the attack on the woman earlier in the month get much press? I'm sure Linda and her friends thought something like that would never happen to them. Plus, that earlier victim slept alone in a basement room, did she not? I'm sure Linda and her roommates figured they were safe, given they were all together. Sad.

  3. Ps I think the fact that the neighbourhood where she lived was a college one helped Ted immensely. If homemakers/retired personnel had been around then I think it would have been much harder for Ted to carry out his deeds as such people would have noticed a stranger entering a rooming house. Just my two cents
    But what a pity the lady upstairs who saw the moving shadow on the night wasn't taken seriously and nothing said to anyone downstairs.

    1. Oh, certainly. No one really blinks twice at people being on the streets at all hours in a college town. They may also give a scream less attention, since college kids play around and blow off stress.

      Plus, I think college kids are more likely to immediately accept strangers than their older counterparts. Especially one on an actual college campus who appeared to be a student.

  4. Yes I agree with the last point about college kids,they are bit less wordly wise for one thing and so many students act the fool so near the end of term so like you say a scream may have gone unnoticed - but I don't think anyone heard anything in the Healy case

    1. I agree. I don't think anything was heard either but college kids likely wouldn't react to a scream the way an older adult would.

      Regardless, Linda wouldn't have had an opportunity to scream or make a noise. Ted knocked her out while she was sleeping. We don't even know for certain that she regained consciousness at any point; she could have been dead or dying as he carried her out.

      Frankly, I hope she never regained consciousness. I can't imagine how terrifying it would have been to awaken to that.

  5. Hi Lori I think you are right - Ted probably did use Lynda's backpackr her decapitated head. As for her regainging consciousness I'd like to think she hadn't but there is the worrying story of Julie Cunningham who did and also Georgeann Hawkins.
    I now think it is unlikely that Ted did ask Lynda out because it would have drawn unwanted attention to him. If he had she would almost certainly have mentioned to a housemate or friend .

    1. Elmeara, suZanne Hill here & I have a huge interest in the Bundy case. He was so amazing, had plenty of nerve & luck! It finally ran out.Thank U all for these comments. Could u please tell me about Julue C.'s abduction or direct me to a source? Thanx & Thank U everyone !!

    2. Suzanne/Anonymous,
      Ted abducted Julie Cunningham from Vail, Colorado in March of 1975. He likely used his crutches ruse on her. In any event, he knocked her unconscious with his crowbar, handcuffed her and drove to a preselected deserted area. At some point, either before or after he assaulted her, he left the door to his VW open and uncuffed her, then hid to watch. He allowed her to regain consciousness and attempt to flee, knowing he wouldn't let her. He let her run and scream before recapturing her and killing her, just for kicks.

      He played those type of mental games on some of his victims - - for instance, telling them someone else had attacked them and he was taking them to the police or hospital to get help.

      Ted was indeed incredibly lucky, unfortunately for his victims. I wouldn't necessarily say he was amazing. He's fascinating in an abnormal psychology way and very, very tragic.

      Thanks for posting.

  6. What happened to Julie Cunningham is terrifying. It shows that Ted was not only a depraved killer but an extremely cruel one, as well -- at least at times.

    I believe that Ted compartmentalized his life as much as possible. There were women like Liz, who he would see as potential girlfriend/sex partner material, or like Carole Boone and even Ann Rule, who could help him. I think he would have seen Linda as something (not someone) to own and possess, to murder and use for his own sick needs. Seeing her that way, he would not have asked her out. He would have followed her, probably getting off on watching her and knowing her routines, all while waiting for the perfect time to strike.

    I hope that if Linda did regain consciousness, like Georgeann, she would have been in a state of shock and not realized what was going on.

  7. I hope too Lynda did not realize what was going on. Poor girl but yet I think Ted wanted her to know, and experience a lonely death in some isolated area. Also I will add I believe he may have practiced carrying heavy loads up and down the stairs that led to her room probably disguised as a tradesman or something. But probably went in the day when college kids were in class

    1. He claimed in interviews that the killing was perfunctory for him, a means to an end but some of his actions were so cruel that he had to have enjoyed it. At least some of them. He also said that he did feel tremendous power in watching the life go out of their eyes - - as far as whether he wanted her to experience a lonely death, I don't think he ever thought once about what she (or his other victims) experienced. They were objects to him.

      Again, based on his interviews, he mentioned that he explored Linda's rooming house the night he eventually abducted her, at a point when no one was home and the house was unlocked. I believe he had been following her anyhow and knew exactly where she slept. This allowed him to explore her private space, which probably gave him kicks, and unlock the back door for later. I remember reading in one of the Bundy books that Linda had gone to Safeway that last afternoon of her life and that Bundy too had cashed a check at Safeway at the same time she was there, one cashier over. Just more proof in my book that he was stalking her.

      Thanks for posting, eimeara!